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Vitamin E may help protect the unborn from lasting abnormalities

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By Life Extension • www.ProHealth.com • August 10, 2017


Vitamin E may help protect the unborn from lasting abnormalities
Reprinted with the kind permission of Life Extension.

August 2 2017. If findings from a study conducted in zebrafish are an indication, prenatal vitamin E deficiency could result in lasting impairments to metabolism and behavior.  The finding was reported in the September 2017 issue of Free Radical Biology and Medicine.

Maret G. Traber and colleagues at Oregon State University maintained adult zebrafish on vitamin E deficient or sufficient diets and examined their embryos up to 12 days after fertilization. They found an increase abnormalities and mortality, and altered DNA methylation through the fifth post-fertilization day in embryos of fish that received deficient diets in comparison with those that received an adequate amount of vitamin E. (It takes five days for a fertilized zebrafish egg to become a swimming fish.)

When the normal-appearing fish in either group were given diets that were vitamin E adequate for the following 7 days, all experienced normal growth; however, those that developed from vitamin E deficient embryos continued to have behavioral deficits, low vitamin E levels, and elevated lipid peroxidation. 

Further investigation revealed dysregulation of the cellular antioxidant network. "They managed to get through the critical period to get the brain formed, but they were stupid and didn't learn and didn't respond right," Dr Traber reported. "They had so much oxidative damage they essentially had a screwed-up metabolism. These outcomes suggest embryonic vitamin E deficiency in zebrafish causes lasting impairments that aren't resolved via later dietary vitamin E supplementation.”

"It takes a while to get vitamin E into the brain to protect it, and this has me concerned about teenage girls who eat inadequate diets and get pregnant," she remarked. "It's the secondary ripples of having inadequate vitamin E that are really causing the problems, and it takes a fair amount of time to correct all of those things that go wrong."



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